Reflections on 1989

When Poland’s future opened up, Solidarity’s sense of agency disappeared

in Focaal
David Ost Hobart and William Smith Colleges

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Perhaps the most surprising part of my recollection of 1989 is to recall the large part of it that was not surprising at all. Because nothing had gotten back to “normal” in Poland in the 1980s, the political events of that decade always happened with Solidarity as the “other.” Because the political situation never seemed resolved, it was always in flux. What happened in 1989 was thus treated initially as part of that flux, by me and by Polish political actors themselves.

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Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology